DRONES SEE THOUSANDS OF TURTLES

In November 2016, researcher Vanessa filmed the greatest swarm of sea turtles ever seen above the Costa Rican coast from her drone. The drone was used to research olive ridley sea turtle reproduction.

Given the current worldwide extinction catastrophe, seeing a huge gathering of an endangered species is a rare and unusual treat. So you can imagine Vanessa Bézy’s joy when she flew her drone over the Costa Rican coast and captured the greatest swarm of sea turtles ever filmed.

Given the current worldwide extinction catastrophe, seeing a huge gathering of an endangered species is a rare and unusual treat. So you can imagine Vanessa Bézy’s joy when she flew her drone over the Costa Rican coast and captured the greatest swarm of sea turtles ever filmed.

“I sensed something was up,” Bézy told National Geographic. “The video still blows me away. “Those are bumper cars.” Ostional, a turtle preserve founded in 1983, regularly sees swarms of turtles. But swarms this dense have never been seen before, and may never be seen again due to the species’ vulnerability. It is the first footage I have seen of this occurrence in the ocean, says Roldán Valverde of the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Florida. “Most of the photography is done on the beach.” It was recently released by Bézy to raise awareness about what we risk losing if this species isn’t preserved. Despite their vast distribution, these turtles have minimal nesting sites worldwide, and the loss of these sites threatens entire populations. For example, Bézy is worried about the growing tourism business near the beaches where this population eggs.

New rules to protect these vital beaches have been suggested, but as developers approach and access ease, the rules may not be enough. Olive ridley sea turtle hatchlings’ low adult survival rate is part of the issue. Even without natural dangers, only 1 in 100 matures. Adding human threats, it’s easy to understand how the turtle population could fall in a generation. As seen in the video, this population appears healthy now. Bézy believes her footage would help preserve it. “Everyone I’ve shown this video to has cried,” she said. Watch the video below.

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